Mary Anne Carter
Director, Competition Policy and Business Law
|Degrees:||Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Law ('10)|
I chose Carleton because it is one of the few schools in Canada that offers an undergraduate honours program in law. I completed a joint program in political science and legal studies, which allowed me to analyze policy, legislation and case law from different theoretical angles. Carleton was also the top public affairs school in Canada, which weighed heavily on my decision to enroll in the program.
After graduating from Carleton, I was accepted into the Graduate Studies in Law program at the University of Ottawa, wherein I completed my Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. Since then, I routinely get asked how I pursued a LL.M. without completing a LL.B./J.D. — but through the application process, I successfully demonstrated that I possessed reasonable knowledge of the law and was accepted into the program.
It was a very interesting experience because I was the only non-lawyer in my class. I never envisioned myself practicing law, rather, I wanted to work in a government relations/public policy setting where I would be able to combine my love for politics and the law in my daily work. During graduate studies, I did not feel I was at a disadvantage because I was the only non-lawyer. In fact, the program, in my view, was an extension of the undergraduate program at Carleton. I was forced to think critically, analyze complex legal problems, while learning about the unique relationship between legislatures and the courts.
I currently work as the Director of Competition Policy and Business Law at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest and most influential business association in Canada. I am one of seven policy directors at the Canadian Chamber, specializing in the areas of business and competition law, international arbitration, government procurement and tourism policy. My professional interests also focus on strengthening the intellectual property regime in Canada in addition to advocating for increased support for innovation, research and development and using digital technology more broadly.
In short, the Department of Law and Legal Studies helped prepare me for a technical graduate program in Law, which would have otherwise not been possible if I had not been exposed to four years of undergraduate legal research. Without completing both degrees, I am quite confident that I wouldn’t have the job I have today.
What I loved most about the undergraduate program is that I was able to enroll in courses that were case law heavy, while also having theoretical classes that scrutinized the law as a social phenomenon. I had professors that asked me tough questions and consistently challenged me to improve my legal arguments.
My primary take-away for prospective students:
This program makes you a strong writer and forces you to think critically on a regular basis. If you want to thrive in the legal industry, both attributes are essential. Both skills are also critical for my current job, and this industry continues to challenge me to advance these skills even further.
Finally, I had great professors. If nothing more, I valued intelligent and good-humoured faculty members whose feedback on my work has stayed with me throughout my professional career.